It's no problem for Eminem to relive a few demoralizing rap battles for the sake of cinema. But for his protégé Curtis ''50 Cent'' Jackson whose music career was directly preceded by his being shot nine times at the age of 24 reenacting life's tragedies in front of a camera for a movie based loosely on one's life can be a hell of a lot more disturbing.
''I had to lay there for four hours,'' Jackson says, recalling a set-up where he was confined to an operating table and covered in fake gore. ''The people at the monitors look at it like they're just making a movie, but I've been there and I don't feel like it's impossible to be there again. Everybody else was running around like it was just another scene, but to me it was something different.''
And it's that something different the humanity and vulnerability behind all the gangsta bravado in Jackson's music that director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) aims to evoke in this story of a Bronx teen who escapes the thug life to become a rapper. ''[Jim] is looking to examine relationships between people in that world, maybe relationships that we don't often see,'' says Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays Majestic, both a nemesis and a father figure to Jackson's Marcus. ''[People] being human behind all the gangsterdom and the hustling.''